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Shadow Music Ryan Harding Review by
Ryan Harding
Hypnotic Records

"Not for weak minds," reads the cd. It probably should have said, "Not for fans of older Kataklysm."

Their two prior full lengths - SORCERY and TEMPLE OF KNOWLEDGE - were elite death metal releases propelled by thundering percussion, the strong melodic guitar work of Jean-Francois Dagenais, and the mystical lyrics and animated vocals of Sylvain Houde.
Houde left the Canadian act in 1996, and so, apparently, did the Northern Hyperblast's talent. Bassist Maurizio Iacono gave up his instrument to become the vocalist, but unfortunately not being hindered by his bass didn't seem to improve his focus. He is split between using a more hardcore style and the more appreciably raw vocals which he used to back up Sylvain occasionally on the preceding albums.

Perhaps if the inclination toward more normal vocals was the only drawback to Kataklysm 1998, it could be overlooked. Unfortunately, the music has greatly suffered, too.

Kataklysm once ignored trends, but now seem content to follow them. Several songs have an over reliance on so-called mosh riffs. Now and again the listener will be teased with brief snatches of trademark Kataklysm blasts and a riff that will have some life to it, but there are not nearly enough of these to condone the album's suicidal flaws. On top of all this, Francois-Dagenais's production sabotages the drum sound, makes it unnatural. The final track "WORLD OF TREASON II" opens with the conclusion of "World of Treason" from SORCERY, perhaps trying to show the radical changes in the band aren't unheralded, and of course makes you regret the band's collapse that much more.

In other words, the band that once beckoned the xul is now sucking the root. Look for a live album from their TEMPLE OF KNOWLEDGE tour possibly later this year, then stick a fork in this once-great-now-half-assed band.

One Perplex Skull.

Perplex Skull

This review copyright 1998 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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